The Essential Guide to Practical Astrology – A Review


Big Sky Astrology was one of the first astrology blogs that I started following on the internet. Regular readers of April Elliott Kent will know that she writes high quality astrological posts which often draw on her own real life experience. Her writing is warm, funny, poignant and always contains cosmic advice administered with a spoonful of Mother Wisdom.

April’s second book ‘The Essential Guide to Practical Astrology does exactly what it says on the cover. Written with a fledgling student in mind, this book takes you on a journey through the basics of astrology, one step at a time. Whilst April holds the reader’s hand throughout, she doesn’t baby them. Complex concepts however are broken down into bite-sized chunks ensuring the student doesn’t choke on having to digest a mound of  overwhelming information.

April first provides us with introductions to the planets (including some of the more well-known asteroids), signs, houses and aspects; explains what astrology is and isn’t and the types of astrology that are practiced.

The next part of the book was my favourite part. ‘Cycles made Simple’ first helps the reader to gain a sense of perspective as to how the planets affect us over a course of a lifetime. From this, she then looks at how we can follow the cycles on a daily, monthly and yearly basis as well as examining long-range planning with the transpersonal planets. I feel that this section of the book makes it stand out amongst other beginner astrology books. Astrology after all is a living thing. The cycles give the reader a shape and context to relate to.

After becoming acquainted with the anatomy of the chart, April then offers a sample chart analysis followed by a short section on forecasting and predictive techniques.

After 20 or so years of working with astrology, it’s been a while since I’ve read a beginners book but it’s definitely something I recommended for even the seasoned practitioner. There is always something to learn from another perspective. It’s important to re-visit your roots and check your foundations. It’s a bit of a 4th house thing perhaps 🙂

What I really like about April’s writing is that she makes it accessible. Whilst some parts of astrology can be quite difficult to explain, April chooses down-to-earth analogies, stories and images to keep the reader’s mind engaged and relating.  I love how she explains aspects using an analogy of a dinner party! Neither will I forget her explanation of a t-square as “an enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Simple, spot-on observation.

Whilst the book is aimed at someone who is just starting out, April doesn’t just skate over the surface. The book is rock solid as a grounding in astrological practice and it will take you a while to get through it. There is plenty of material here and I know I will be re-visiting to re-read her intelligent and insightful interpretations.

April has done a wonderful job of providing a fresh new look at the basics of
astrology. Her style of writing makes me feel like curling up with warm milk and cookies. It’s bright, engaging and often funny as well as providing a powerful framework for further study down the starry road. Destined to become a classic I think. Stellar work.

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